Following the recent demolition of the Royal Buffet restaurant building at 530 E. 33rd St., plans are proceeding for a new Harbor Freight Tools store at that location.
Royal Buffet had occupied the site for two decades before it was destroyed by fire last year. The restaurant was known for its seafood and Asian fare.
An off-duty firefighter had first noticed flames leaping from the roof at about 7am on April 10, 2016, according to media reports. The fire had started in the attic of the building and was extinguished within an hour. No one was inside the building at the time, and no injuries were reported.
According to Jake Heflin, public information officer for the Long Beach Fire Department, the lead fire investigator says the cause of the fire is still undetermined, but there was no indication of arson.
The restaurant site was put on the market rather than rebuilt by its owners.
Blair Cohn, executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, told the Signal Tribune that the City of Long Beach helped tear down the building to make way for new development.
A spokesperson for the Long Beach Development Services (LBDS) Department indicated that a demolition permit for the building had been issued on Oct. 17. The building is now gone and the site repaved.
Its planned replacement, Harbor Freight Tools, a privately held discount tool and equipment retailer based in Calabasas, Calif., has been in business since 1977 and boasts more than 800 stores nationwide, according to the company’s website.
LBDS spokesperson Jacqueline Medina indicated that the Long Beach Planning Commission has not yet approved plans for the new store, which are being developed by applicants Permit Advisors, Inc., a consulting group based in Beverly Hills.
She could not comment on its construction timeline.
“The proposed project for a Harbor Freight store is currently in the early stages of the site plan review process,” Medina stated.